Zack Cozart should be on the Mets radar

After the 2016 season, the Mets pretty much stood pat on their roster with only very minor tweaks. After the unsuccessful 2017, we can be sure there will not be a repeat of the stand pat approach this offseason.

The Mets have a lot of needs, including a quality infielder to man either second or third base. In a September 30 article in the New York Post, Joel Sherman, at the very end of his piece, threw out the idea that free agent Zack Cozart would be a good fit for the Mets at second base. Let’s examine this possibility of the Mets pursuing Cozart.

Cozart had an excellent 2017 at shortstop for the Reds. He was the starter in the All-Star game, and finished the year with 122 games played and a slash line of .297/.385/.548. He made 5.3 million in 2017, and his contract has expired.

The Reds may try to sign him, but they are a small market team and they do have an excellent prospect for shortstop in Jose Peraza, so they may just move on.

The Mets, of course, feel they are set at short with the athletic Amed Rosario. But both second and third base appear wide open. Sherman suggested second base for Cozart should the Mets acquire him, but third base might be a better option yet. Cozart appears to have lost just a bit of range. His UZR in 2017 at short was 3.7, dropping from 9.6 in 2016. That is not surprising with age, and many players have made the transition from short to third as they get older, Cal Ripken is a good example. Range is about as important at second as it is at shortstop, plus there is the added burden of learning the pivot, not an easy task.

There are a few cons to look at. Cozart has had several injuries over the years including a quad muscle problem last year. His production in 2017 was significantly above his career totals, and he did cool off in the second half.

Some additional pluses include his RISP BA, which was an impressive .337, indicating he is a good clutch hitter. He showed improved selectivity at the plate with a career high in bases on balls with 62. He also had a career high in home runs with 24.

Most teams have either established shortstops or hot prospects at the position, so the market may not be as strong as it is in some years. If Cincinnati decides to make a qualifying offer to him, that would cost them about 18 million, and that looks a little high for a low budget team to cough up.

The Mets certainly could use a veteran presence in their infield to provide some leadership for young projected starters like Rosario at short and Dominic Smith at first. If the Mets do decide to throw some money into upgrading their infield, Cozart could be an attractive option, assuming they can get him for a reasonable price, perhaps on a three year deal..

8 comments for “Zack Cozart should be on the Mets radar

  1. Name
    October 17, 2017 at 10:41 am

    The Reds would be absolutely nuts to give him a QO. This is a guy who, except for this 2017, has the same career 82 OPS+ as Tejada
    He’s also has durability issues, as he’s played in less than 125 games the last 3 years, and he’s turning 32 next year.
    The only positive he has going for him is his defensive prowess.

    But if we’re comparing him to Rosario, Rosario in limited sample size also seems like he’s able to handle the position above average too.

    The only argument for Cozart is that he made some sort of change and is poised to have the same kind of late career bloom like Murphy or Turner, but both players were less risky as Murphy was more established and durable than Cosart and Turner cost next to nothing to bring in.

    • John Fox
      October 17, 2017 at 11:35 am

      Name,
      I don’t think the Reds will make a qualifying offer either, and because of some of the issues raised such as durability and outlier season, he might not be that expensive for the Mets to get on say a 3 year deal. If he can be had for a reasonable price he could be worth it.

    • blaiseda
      October 17, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      Totally agree.. not interested. breakout offensive in his walk year. That’s all too familiar. if we got him for defense at 2B for low $$’s rather than grab Walker.. and it allows us sign Lance Lynn then OK.. that’s a team make-up choice. But this guy isn’t the savior.

  2. October 17, 2017 at 11:03 am

    I could see him commanding a tidy sum after a great 2017 season. I’d also be concerned it’s an outlier.

  3. Metsense
    October 17, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Zack Cozart had a career year in 2017 and as Name pointed out he doesn’t have the pedigree or youth to offer a free agent contract to. The other objection is that he would need to switch positions and therefore would be putting a square peg in a round hole. There are better options than signing Cozart.

  4. MattyMets
    October 17, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    I think Cozart is worth consideration and discussion here. My concern is that, like Moustakas, he’s a solid but not great player coming off a career year. It’s a gamble. You could wind up with Jason Heyward. Of course people said the same thing about Adrian Beltre’s well-timed breakout year before he signed his first big contract.

  5. Eraff
    October 17, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    I’ve pitched the Scooter Gennett several times…he doesn’t have the fanfare or the ability to man SS fulltime, but he will probably go for a 2-4 year deal at a decent level…. he’s an excellent choice as a Roamer/Super Sub around the IF…with some pop.

    27 years old—-has been a mid 700 ops until this year—I like him.

    (Oh, and don’t forget—I still believe in Kevin Plawecki, and he’s begun to give Me a Reason)

  6. Rae
    October 17, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Cozart is a real solid player. If he agrees to switch to 3B it could work out for both the Mets and for Cozart. Having a switch hitter who can run and steal a bag, can catch and throw the ball, and will hit 25 home runs and hit above 260 sounds very good to me. Let Guillorme become the late inning infielder especially when you need great defense. Guillorme might be a slap hitter but he will hit about 270, will not strike out, and he can run so he needs to be on the team in 2018. The Mets are gonna need Flores to play 1B when lefties are throwing because I do not see much promise in Domonic Smith. He is not a good fielder, runs like he stepping in cement blocks of dog dung, and does not hit for average. He is going to be a hinderance to the 2018 Mets. Matt Oberste is a much better fielding 1B man, and Peter Alonso may turn out to be a real power bat but he also sucks at 1B. Oberste is a John Olerud type of hitter so the Mets might need to employee him as their 1B guy just in case things go far south with Smith.

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